Monday, September 29, 2008

Vacation was great!

Bill and I went on vacation for 10 days. We went to Wisconsin hoping for cool weather. In fact we both took sweatshirts and insulated shirts that never made it out of the suit case or off the hangers.

We were very busy the whole time we were gone, yet because it was a change of pace it was relaxing. I think Friday was the only day we were not with relatives of Bill's. We were with Bill's son, daughter-in-law and grandson the most. We also saw a niece, nephew and girlfriend, great nephew, sisters, brother-in-law, boy friend of a sister, cousins and a lot of good friends. We played cards, watched 10 year old's play football, talked, ate meals together and just enjoyed our time in WI.

We were staying in a Condo Vacation Community in Wisconsin Dells. We took Devin our 10 year old grandson fishing at the small lake on the grounds. He caught lots of little bluegill and was perfectly happy until I stopped taking them off the hook for him. He has learned how to put the worm on the hook, catch the fish but he doesn't want to take the fish off the hook. Well that is all part of fishing, just like us quilters sometimes need to frog stitch (take out stitches) even if we don't like the process.

Bill and I also went to the casino once.....for about 10 minutes. We had set a limit of spending $20.00. Bill spent and lost his ten in nothing flat. I changed $5.00 into $12. on one machine and my other $5.00 into $80.00 on another machine. I told Bill let's cash in and go back to the Condo to watch the ball game. It took us longer to walk from the parking lot to the casino and back then we were actually in the casino. I thought we might go back again, but we just didn't have time.

While Bill was watching Devin's football team play I was playing also. I did manage to go to three quilt shops (one twice) and get some supplies I needed for making samples for my new patterns.
I bought some black and white fabric's, mostly from Mark Lipinski's Califon collection, and some 1800's reproductions to fill out my collection. It was difficult to decide what collections I wanted use, but my stash at home needs to be reduced so I tried to get fabric that could be used as focal fabrics.

On the last Saturday we were there I call Trish P, a gal from the Pickle Road yahoo group I belong to and she was available to meet me at The Mill House Quilt Shop in Waunakee. Prior to her arriving I asked a clerk to cut 12 of the Califon black and whites . When Trish arrived we started talking quilts, fabric, health and many other things and the next thing I knew she asked if I wanted to go to the quilt shop in her town. Naturally I said yes and out the door we went. Guess who forgot her fabric. The bad part was I had not paid for it! So one of the clerks managed to catch me before I started my van to ask me if I still wanted my fabric. I was embarrassed, but they saved me a trip back to their shop as I really wanted the Califon black and white collection. So I paid for my fabric and we went to Village Creek, LLC in Lodi. The shop was about the size of my former shop with most of the fabric being reproductions. Their was also some Bali's, but I was not interested in them. It was a fun time looking and it is time for the making.

First I need to make a quilt for Quilting Treasures. The fabric arrived from them while we were gone. It is very nice, but I must keep the style, designer and pattern I designed a secret until Quilt Market opens at the end of October. I love the pattern I designed as it is simple, but has lots of movement. Look for my quilt if you go to market.

One thing I forgot to tell you is we now have two new lazy boy chairs for our living room. Bill's sister Donna gave them to us. One is leather and the other is plush in deep red and deep rose. We are waiting until Thursday to bring them into the house, because our kitten has an appointment that day to be fixed and claws removed.

We also brought back some meats that we can not buy in KY, potatoes that were at least $3.00 cheaper per bag and some good northern apples. Our van was loaded when we left WI.

We stopped to see out friends Beverly and Len in IL and they gave us 6 dozen farm fresh eggs. Oh and I forgot the breads I bought at the bakery in Bloomington, WI. They make a wonderful multigrain bread that I just love toasted. After visiting with Beverly and Len and enjoying a nice cup of coffee and a piece of delicious chocolate cake we looked for a motel room so we could rest for the night. We had already checked Tuscola, Arcola and then we checked a couple of other small towns on our way down the road. One clerk told us they have been booked since May. Later we found a room in Effingham and discovered it was Parents Weekend at Eastern IL University. I think every parent of students attending EIU were visiting.

Bill and I slept in late and took out time making our last day of vacation last as long as we could. Mom and Dad cried when we arrived home, because they were so happy to see us. We had friends and neighbors check on them while we were gone, but they had to do their own cooking etc.

Now it is back to normal, cooking, cleaning, figuring out bills and yes sewing those quilts.

Have a good one!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Me again

Wow! Being without electric yesterday and today I had not seen the pictures of what happen when hurricane Ike hit Texas and other areas of the south. What devastation. I was familiar with many of the areas due to a trip to Houston and the surrounding areas last year. I'm sure some of the restaurants we ate at and places we shopped at are now just sticks. So sad.

Go down and read about our experiences with "Ike"!

"Ike" and I and other radom ideas

Hurricane "Ike" and I were not on great terms over the weekend. I am sure others all over our nation felt the same way. We rarely have company at meals these days in our home. There are many reasons for this, but when we do entertain it is good ole home cooking. Nothing special to us, but maybe something our guest have never had or tasted only at our home. This weekend was just one of those times, but then "Ike" arrived. Remember we live in western Kentucky!!!

We do not live near the coast and have felt some affects of hurricanes in the past with a little rain or a slight wind, but "Ike" decided we needed to feel his fury. "Ike" did bring us some humidity on Saturday when our guest, my Brother, Sister-in-law, and their two adult children from CA arrived. "Ike" also brought a breeze, which is unusual at our house due to our location in a valley. Being from southern California humidity is not something they tolerate well....and neither do I. Saturday went well with Bill and my Dad starting to smoke a turkey early in the morning. When it was almost done we added two pork roasts. I wish I had taken pictures of the smoked roasts and turkey, because they did turn out picture perfect. When my brother arrive he helped my dad finish the main dish. We just added a cranberry relish, corn we froze from our garden and tomatoes from a friend's garden. All was good, but the house did get humid with the in and out checking on dinner.

Sunday morning my parents, Bill and I had breakfast, but the dishes did not get washed when "Ike" decided to show he was still something to fear. His wind was very strong and the trees in our area of KY were snapping like toothpicks. We were rather fortunate to live in the woods, but only had a small branch or two hit the ground. Most of the area north of us suffered much damage from trees breaking or being uprooted. This caused a huge power outage like I have never seen. Our power was out from 8:15am Sunday until sometime near 2:30pm Monday.

Thank goodness we have a gas grill and fish cooker and I have a wonderful husband who understood when I was frustrated and was being nasty to him when I was just upset with the circumstances. We did change our menu from Fried fish, Red Beans and Rice and Cole Slaw to Fried Fish, Potatoes and Onions in foil cooked on the grill and Green Beans we canned from our garden heated on the side burner of the grill and Cole Slaw. Sounds simple enough, but the fish would not thaw (this is fish we caught and froze in water) . Plus we had limited water in jugs so to speed the process I had Bill put the fish in the "electric cooler/warmer" we have in the car. He was able to heat the fish enough to start the thawing process and I used some water and my hands to finish the process. By this time I was tired and I knew the fish no longer looked like fish, but little pieces of a mess.

Now it was time to bread the fish which is a mess to do under the best circumstances, but I had little clean room in either kitchen and less water to clean my hands when I was taking the fish out of the milk wash into the coating. What a mess!

Then it was time to coordinate everything so it was all done at the same time. Fortunately I had help with the vegetables. All I did was frying of the fish.......lots of fish. Remember I was feeding 8 hungry adults! "Ike" was now not only blowing his wind all around, but now it was also raining a bit. Rain and oil do not mix, so the fish cooker had to be moved closer to the house under the eves. This made me very uncomfortable, but we managed. The meal was very goodwith very few left overs.

Again we had dishes from 8 people, cooking utensils and a small kitchen with no water. So everything was stacked and forgotten. We actually we couldn't see them shortly after dinner due to no lights. Our company left for their cabin and we all went to sleep.

Company arrived this morning to coffee, bacon, blueberry bran muffins, biscuits and scrambled eggs. All cooked on the gas grill. I must admit some of the muffins burnt, because I could not coordinate everything correctly. The plus side was it all tasted good, except the last batch of coffee was toooooooo strong, and we had very few leftovers. Again.......lots of dishes, nasty pans with black soot on them and still no water.

After all the good byes were said our company left. Bill and I went to town to pick up some batteries for the portable lights and some chicken.......already cooked for a meal today. We had heard that our electric may be out for a while.

We stopped to have coffee at our favorite dive. While there we learned that people north and east of us had more damage then we had. So again we counted our blessing.

While waiting in line for the chicken I met out magistrate. He is the man we call when we have a problem with the roads and other things our district. I had never met him, but after talking with him I learned about some tobacco barn fires, grass fires and home fires that happened Sunday, so again I was thankful. While taking to him some of the county road crew came in for lunch and we learned that some areas of the county may be without power for 36 hours more. So I was very thankful when our electric came on.

My mom managed to get one load of dishes done before dinner. I just used leftovers to make a hash and then we worked on the dishes again. I had to leave, so I don't know if they are all done, but you know what?????? They can be washed tomorrow.

I am just thankful we survived "Ike" with no damage and my brother and family were able to visit with my parents. They will really have a story to tell when they get home! Who would have thought a hurricane could cause so much trouble in KY!

Glad you have moved on "Ike"


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Color Spectrum Test

In one of the on line groups that I belong to the following link to a color spectrum test was posted. It is an easy test to take, but be sure you look at the entire width of the page or you might get a score you do not deserve.

My score was zero which means I have perfect color spectrum. This is good and bad. It means to me that I can be very picky when choosing colors. I always knew that I had a color sense that others didn't have. I guess that is why when I owned a quilt shop the customers wanted me to pick out the fabrics for them. I didn't mind helping, but I never liked totally picking out the fabric for a quilt. I wanted my customers to have a say in what fabrics they liked and in what order they should appear in a quilt. The most challenging for me to pick out was always a log cabin

The bad part about the color spectrum test is that all the colors were of the same value. When we shop for fabric the values are sometimes bright and other times dull. There is much more then spectrum to picking out fabrics for a quilt. Oh and then the patterns printed on the color can totally change an opinion about a fabric working in a quilt. For instance, I have a very bright pink fabric with yellow ducks printed on it. The fabric works well with the coordinating fabrics from this line to make a child's quilt, but it would not work in a pink quilt due to the yellow duck.

One other thing I think everyone needs to remember about color is lighting makes a difference. Some quilt shops have full spectrum lights that are to show the true color of a fabric, but do you light your home with full spectrum lights? Most likely no! So my advice is if you really need something to match something else in your home either take samples of colors with you to the quilt shop or buy just small amounts of a fabric and take it home to test. If you have a favorite fabric you want to have as a focus in your quilt take it with you to pick out fabrics to coordinate with your favorite fabric. Sometimes you can just take the color dots from the selvage of the fabric, but I would rather have the entire piece of fabric.

Sometimes I don't have my fabric samples with me, but end up in a shop with fabric. Now this doesn't happen too often for me now, because I am trying to just use from my stash. It did happen with my latest quilt. I knew I needed a bright, a little darker then a true blue fabric. It needed to coordinate with a pale blue and also mix well with a dull dark yellow green, a pale green and a bright red. I didn't need to worry about patterns on these fabrics as they are mostly color on color patterns. I did not take any samples with me when I ended up in a place with fabric. So I just guessed which fabric would work. I guessed correctly and that might have to do with my color spectrum abilities and having the type of memory which allows me to visualize.

The quilt I am working on now will be published soon by I will post a picture when it is done. The thing I like about this quilt is that the colors is what makes the pattern move. The quilt is actually made using two simple blocks, but the changing of the colors in the block makes the quilt look complicated, but it is not. Speaking of that quilt I need to get the last three blocks sewn so I can start the final assembly.